Not that long ago, my two teenage daughters and I headed out for a father-daughter weekend camp. I knew it would be awesome. What I didn’t know was how much I would learn from my time with them.
The rain has picked up and lightning flashes across the darkening sky forming momentary webs of light that stretch across the expanse of the Indiana sky above us. Our van shakes as we zoom down the expressway. With each thunder clap my 14-year-old daughter jumps in the passenger seat. Eventually she reaches across the center space between my seat and hers, and clutches my hand. She squeezes tightly. Even at 14. She’s been running to my lap or reaching for my hand during storms or scary movies since she learned to walk.
Yawning, yawning, and more yawning. If that describes you, we want you to know- You’re not alone! There’s a way to find rest and it’s not as difficult as you think it is.
The year was 2004 and we were the parents of a 2 year old. We had adopted her at birth, she was healthy and happy, and almost like clockwork, she began to sleep through the night at 3 months old. “This parenting gig is easy,” we thought. Boy were we in for a rude awakening (literally).
When we first started down the foster and adoptive road, we were energized and excited. But exhaustion quickly kicked in and left us defeated. We soon wondered: Will we ever find our way back to a place of rest?
I remember staring at our newborn daughter, who was screaming at the top of her lungs at 3am, and begging her to fall back asleep. Of course, being a newborn, she wasn’t listening to me. I yawned one of those out-of-control yawns. I hadn’t seen that hour of the night since college. I soon realized this was just the beginning.
We’re proud of our big family. We’re equally as proud of our big 12-passenger van. It’s helped us cart our beautiful family all over the U.S. But recently, something interesting happened…
This is NOT our van. This is what our van SHOULD look like.
A few weeks ago I went into a local coffee shop, grabbed a cup of Jo and returned to my van. I unlocked the door and climbed into the driver’s seat. I wrinkled my nose at the smell of stale smoke. It was not the smell of a fresh cigarette; it was the leftover lingering stench of a chain smoker’s clothes. A chill ran through me and I placed my bag on the floor and my coffee in the cup holder. I climbed across all the rows of seats to the very back to make sure there wasn’t a person connected to that odor. No one was there. I climbed back to the front and looked all around the parking lot.
The longer you’re a parent, especially within the foster or adoption circle, the greater the likelihood you will encounter judgmental people. We’ve been through the ringer with this. However, there are a few ways you can respond that puts you in a better place emotionally, physically and spiritually!
He stared us down from the moment we walked into the Wendy’s restaurant until the moment we left. If glares were audible his would have spewed degrading words through the 20 feet of space that separated us. He wasn’t glaring at our white children. My three younger sons, all white, bounded past him, to the bathroom and he never flinched. They were normal in his eyes. I’ve seen that look a million times in our 14 years of parenting. It was our black children that troubled him.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder brings about a myriad of struggles for those who suffer from it, and heartache for parents raising children with it. But one competition is changing the face of FASD…
I am the mother of 5 children who were exposed to alcohol before birth. My children run the full spectrum of affectedness. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is a lifelong condition. Throughout their entire lives they will struggle with a range of difficulties…
*Editor’s Note- We experienced technical difficulties with the final edit of today’s podcast and had to revert to the original recording from our home church service. We apologize for the audio difference as it was delivered in front of a live audience.
In the Season 3 finale of The Honestly Speaking Parenting Podcast we’re discussing how to parent with intention. Once you’ve learned to establish boundaries for yourself, and healthy boundaries for your children, you must move in a specific direction to see specific results.
Over the past 14 years of our parenting journey, we’ve learned so many lessons. The biggest lesson is that we are not in control of our child’s life. Of course we guide and lead because that’s our job as parents but, we cannot force them to make wise choices. Try as we may, we are not in control. We are charged with raising our children within boundaries, and with purpose, but at the end of the day their choices are their choices. We must release our grip.
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As parents, we want the best for our children. Our hearts break when their’s break, our joy soars when theirs soar. When things fall apart, we do our best to fix it. But maybe we’re not supposed to be in control of every emotion they experience.
“What your mom needs to remember is that she isn’t in control of your emotions.” The counselor was looking right at my daughter but I knew she was talking to me. We had just had a very emotional counseling session. My daughter was asked to list her stressors. I had known for a long time that I was the cause of some of her stress and truthfully I was relieved to see my name at the very bottom of a long and honest list. Watching my daughter make the list was a mixture of sadness, pride and sheer relief.